Seniors and their caregivers looking for in-home care may find that the options are seemingly endless. Between varying terminology, certifications and agencies providing all kinds of services, it’s understandably difficult to identify the best type of in-home care for an elderly loved one.
Regardless of your needs, there are a few key items to look for:
1. Does the agency utilize home care software or a home care system?
Evaluating the ability of an agency to communicate with your family and track care plans can be difficult at first glance. However, by asking an agency about their home care software or home care system, you can gauge their willingness to share management practices with clients and also explore their ability to match your loved one with the best caregiver and track scheduled shifts. Agencies that hesitate to share how they do their scheduling or track caregiver skills and certifications may require further investigation.
2. Is the agency appropriately certified?
Depending on the location where services are needed and the level of services provided, there are varying certifications that home care agencies may be required to have. Check with your County Department on Aging or local Area on Aging for information on required certifications in your locale and don’t hesitate to ask agencies to produce proof of certifications.
3. Do you feel comfortable?
If you, or your elderly loved one has a gut instinct that seems unsettling, an agency may not be right for you whether or not there are any obvious red flags. In order for a positive relationship to be formed, clients need to feel comfortable with agency caregivers and administrators.
Different Types of Care:
The terms “home care” and “home health care” can be confusing for many elder care shoppers, and terms that are interchangeably used by some agencies can cause additional misunderstandings.
In most instances, the term “home care” refers to non-medical home care agencies that provide services such as assistance with meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands, companionship and medication reminders. Non-medical in-home care agencies may also be referred to as “private duty” agencies, meaning that they require no referral from a physician and provide help with basic tasks. These kinds of agencies may manage care with a home care software or home care system, such as ClearCare, to help schedule caregivers and track care plans. Normally, payment sources for these agencies include private pay from the care recipient themselves, long term care insurance, or in some instances, payment assistance from local government programs.
Opposed to home care, which provides non-medical care, home health agencies normally focus on medically centered care, such as medication administration, wound care, or services that require the assistance of a trained RN (Registered Nurse) or CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). These agencies typically require a referral from a doctor and while they may provide some non-medical services, their primary duty is typically medical care-centered. These agencies may also be more likely to accept Medicare or Medicaid as a pay source.
Finding the right type of in-home elder care for your elderly loved ones can be a definite “shopping experience.” Remember to find an agency that best fits your needs and makes you feel comfortable. And, when looking for a non-medical home care provider, be sure to ask about their use of home care software or a home care system to track the care of the seniors you love.